The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship. Nearly all sailing masts are guyed masts.
Until the mid-19th century, in the Western world, all vessels' masts were made of wood formed from a single piece of timber which typically consisted of the trunk of a conifer tree. From the 16th century, vessels were often built of a size requiring masts taller and thicker than could be made from single tree trunks. On these larger vessels, to achieve the required height, the masts were built from up to four sections (also called masts), known in order of rising height above the decks as the lower, top, topgallant and royal masts. Giving the lower sections sufficient thickness necessitated building them up from separate pieces of wood. Such a section was known as a made mast, as opposed to sections formed from single pieces of timber, which were known as pole masts.
In a three-masted, square-sail carrying ship, the masts, given their standard names in bow to stern (front to back) order, are:
Fore-mast: the first mast, or the mast fore of the main-mast.
Sections: Fore-mast lower—Fore topmast—Fore topgallant mast
Main-mast: the tallest mast, usually located near the center of the ship.
Sections: Main-mast lower—Main topmast—Main topgallant mast—royal mast (if fitted)
Mizzen-mast: the third mast, or the mast immediately aft of the main-mast. Typically shorter than the fore-mast.
Sections: Mizzen-mast lower—Mizzen topmast—Mizzen topgallant mast
Some names given to masts in ships carrying other types of rig (where the naming is less standardised) are:
Bonaventure mizzen: the fourth mast on larger sixteenth century galleons, typically lateen-rigged and shorter than the main mizzen.
Jigger-mast: typically, where it is the shortest, the aft-most mast on vessels with more than three masts.
Sections: Jigger-mast lower—Jigger topmast—Jigger topgallant mast
Most types of vessels with two masts would have a main-mast and a smaller mizzen-mast, although both brigs and two-masted schooners instead carry a fore-mast and main-mast. On a two-masted vessel with the mainmast forward and a much smaller second mast, such as a ketch, or particularly a yawl, the terms mizzen and jigger are synonymous.
Some two-masted schooners have masts of identical size, but the aftmost is still referred to as the main-mast, and normally has the larger course. Schooners have been built with up to seven masts in all, with several six-masted examples.
On square-rigged vessels, each mast carries several horizontal yards from which the individual sails are rigged
Critiques | Translate
tyro (20778) 2012-03-02 7:22
What a fabulously interesting note you have given us here and what a beautiful photograph with which to illustrate it.
This is potentially a very difficult picture to compose and crop and frame but you have done all these things exceedingly well here. The tall frame works well and fits with the vertical shrouds of the mast and the diagonals of the yards and other ropes are perfectly placed in the frame too. The engineer or painter is well placed also. You have done a fine job with the exposure in such difficult conditions, shooting straight up into the sky: the exposure is spot-on with excellent detail in the deepest shadows and the brightest parts.
Lovely colours and excellent detail and sharpness.
PecoBud (3824) 2012-03-02 9:27
I don't know how you did it, but you did.....Great Job!!
I'm so curious about how many shots you took to line everything up. All those ropes must have been a challenge for you.........well, at least it would have for me.
Anyway, great informaton given on this and awesome POV
bukitgolfb301 (36428) 2012-03-02 13:45
Hi my dear Marion
Sorry for my late reply, as I am still sufferring from a light pneumonia, getting well very slowly.
Another great impressive shot as your own originality and taste! You arranged the complex composition by adjusting and selecting fertical/horizontal lines!
Perfect framework and well considered composition as usual! Thanks for your sharinig with finest work and have a good Saturday!
Takero from Tokyo
auldal (1380) 2012-03-03 2:21
Excellent shot, I know how awkward this is from doing a trip on a square rigger some years ago. The DOF adds to the impression of height. Hope your camera was well secured.
The mast on our boat had a crack you could put your hand into, but they had just put iron bands around it, which seemed to work well. Also they broke the mast that held the moonraker sail in a gale, because they didn't put enough sail on it and it whipped around too much!
All the best
ourania (32763) 2012-03-03 6:04
wonderful composition, skillfully framed and lit, with exquisite sharpness and clarity. The point of view is excellent giving us a very interesting upward view through the intricate network of ropes. The management of the pleasant sunlight is great and the colours and atmosphere lovely. I love this picture and its theme!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,